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Senior Scientific Officer: Bioinformatician

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), based in Parma, Italy 
is looking for a 
Senior Scientific Officer: Bioinformatician
(Temporary Agent, Grade AD8)

 The text of this call is available in all EU languages here.

Please send us your application by no later than 28 January 2019 at midnight (local time), following the instructions in the ANNEX

The purpose of this call is to establish a talent pool (reserve list) that may be used for the recruitment of staff when a position becomes available and will be valid until 31/12/2019. The validity of the talent pool may be extended.

EFSA aims to use bioinformatics tools / analysis pipelines to support its risk assessments of food and feed products and the environment.

Therefore we are looking for an experienced and versatile Bioinformatician who will steer the agency towards a concrete path for implementation of bioinformatics analysis in the scientific areas within its remit and build in house capacity in bioinformatics at EFSA. 

The successful candidate will integrate and lead the implementation of bioinformatics tools and data analysis pipelines at EFSA. You will work in close collaboration with colleagues in several EFSA units and with EFSA partners in the field (e.g. EU Reference Laboratories, other agencies, the European Commission, EU Member State competent authorities). 

The successful candidate may also be asked to contribute to other activities within the remit of EFSA’s mission. 

Your key responsibilities

Working under the responsibility of the Head of Unit you will be responsible for building up and maintaining bioinformatics services to support users (i.e. EFSA science units and affiliated external experts), including the following tasks:
  • Coordinate the application of bioinformatics tools for the storage, analysis and visualisation of data;
  • Implement and manage data analysis pipelines/tools/platforms for bioinformatics analysis, in particular of nucleic acids (e.g. next generation sequencing data) and proteins (e.g. predictive protein analysis);
  • Perform bioinformatics analysis and support users with the application of bioinformatics pipelines and interpretation of results from the analysis;
  • Contribute to defining long term storage and access solutions for datasets and bioinformatics tools used by EFSA scientific units and external collaborating experts;
  • Develop a strategy and implementation plan for bioinformatics services across the relevant scientific units of EFSA;
  • Develop guidance and methodology documents and contribute to scientific outputs;
  • Keep abreast of scientific and regulatory developments and provide information to EFSA units on scientific aspects in the bioinformatics area;
  • Support different stakeholders with the submission of data to EFSA from bioinformatics analysis, e.g. next generation sequencing data.

You will play an active role in an organisation that makes a difference to the lives of 500 million EU citizens.
EFSA employs approximately 450 staff members, and its Scientific Committee and Panels engage highly qualified and independent scientific experts. Every position within EFSA plays an important part in creating an inspirational environment in which to work and develop.

Read more about EFSA Strategy 2020.
Find out more about EFSA, visit us at

Life in Parma

Parma is a lively city of around 200.000 inhabitants located in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. Its centre is rich in art, there are parks and architecture from different periods. Parma is famous for its food, wine and its varied surrounding landscape with small villages, rich in history, medieval castles, and picturesque countryside. Parma is strategically located between major Italian cities like Milano and Bologna, and also within reachable distance of ski resorts, natural parks, seaside and mountains.

Salary and benefits

EFSA can offer the selected candidate a contract of 5 years with the possibility of renewal. 
The successful candidate will be recruited as Temporary Agent Grade AD8 with the basic salary starting from € 6.934,02 monthly, subject to an annual review of remuneration provided for in Article 65(1) of the Staff Regulations.

In addition to the basic salary, EFSA offers a range of benefits:

•        Various allowances to which the successful jobholder may be entitled, such as a household allowance, expatriation allowance (16% of basic salary), dependent child allowance and education allowance. The salary is subject to a Community tax deducted at source and staff members are exempt from national taxation.

•        A comprehensive welfare package including pension scheme, medical, accident and occupational disease insurance coverage, unemployment and invalidity allowance, and travel insurance. Further information regarding rights, conditions of employment and benefits can be found at the following links:

Please note that the ANNEX represents an integral part of this vacancy and should be consulted before completing your online application form.


You must satisfy the following requirements on the closing date for submission of your application:

I. Eligibility criteria

1. General requirements

Be national of a Member State of the European Union, Iceland or Norway; 
Enjoy full rights as a citizen;
Have fulfilled any obligations imposed by laws concerning military service;
Be physically fit to perform the duties linked to the post;[1]
Have a thorough knowledge of one of the EU official languages and a satisfactory knowledge of another EU language;
Meet the character requirements for the duties involved.

2. Qualifications

•        A level of education which corresponds to completed university studies of at least four (4) years attested by a diploma[2] in one of the following areas: bioinformatics, computer science, computer engineering, microbiology, molecular biology, biology, biosciences, mathematics or similar areas;



•        A level of education which corresponds to completed university studies attested by a diploma in one of the following areas: bioinformatics, computer science, computer engineering, microbiology, molecular biology, biology, biosciences, mathematics or similar areas and appropriate professional experience of at least one (1) year when the normal period of university education is at least three (3) years.

3. Experience

In addition to the above, at least nine (9) years of proven professional experience[3] acquired after having obtained the qualifications mentioned in point 2.

In case you do not fulfil all the eligibility criteria, your application will not be taken into consideration.

II. Selection criteria

1. Technical competencies

i. At least 4 years of professional experience in bioinformatics of next generation sequencing data and/or protein analysis (in microbes and/or higher organisms);

ii. Professional experience in  at least three (3) of the following scientific areas:
a. Microbial genomics (e.g. taxonomic characterisation, functional microbial gene profiling for toxin production, molecular typing);
b. Outbreak investigation through whole genome sequencing of microbial food borne pathogens;
c. Antimicrobial resistance (e.g. molecular epidemiology, genes/mutations detection, prediction);
d. Plant genomics and transcriptomics (e.g. characterisation of genetic modifications and junction site analysis);
e. Genomics, transcriptomics or proteomics for toxicological risk assessment (e.g. identification of novel biomarkers);
f. Genomics, transcriptomics or proteomics for environmental risk assessment (e.g. identification of potential target and non-target species in the context of RNAi applications);
g. Phylogeny;
h. Signature based and structural protein analysis (e.g. receptor binding, prediction of allergenicity and toxicity potential of proteins);

iii. Experience using specialised software development tools and languages commonly used in bioinformatics; demonstrated proficiency in using queries and performing data management and analysis for the purpose of bioinformatics;

iv. Experience in enterprise storage in a cloud environment and high performance computing;

v. Experience in planning bioinformatics services and supporting life scientists with bioinformatics expertise;

vi. Experience in writing and reviewing scientific documents such as scientific reports, articles, opinions, guidance and methodology documents;

vii. Experience in managing and coordinating national, European or international research projects.

2. Behavioural competencies

i. Communication and English: Strong ability to communicate  and inform and effectively in both spoken and written English;
ii. Working with others: Ability to work on a service oriented basis co-operatively with others in teams and across organisational boundaries and respect differences between people;
iii. Analysis and problem solving: Ability to identify the critical facts in difficult issues and develop creative and practical solutions, taking into consideration future consequences;
iv. Drive for Results: Ability to take personal responsibility and initiative for delivering high quality work;
v. Negotiating: Ability to negotiate skilfully in tough situations and to settle differences with minimum noise in a direct and forceful as well as diplomatic way.


Candidates are invited to read the ANNEX that represents an integral part of this vacancy and should be consulted before completing the online application form.


In the event of inconsistency or discrepancy between the English version and any of the other linguistic versions of this publication, the English language version shall prevail.

[1] Before appointment, a successful candidate shall be medically examined by an institution’s medical officer in order that the European Food Safety Authority may be satisfied that he/she fulfils the requirement of article 28(e) of the Staff Regulations of the Officials of the European Communities.

[2] Any academic qualification mentioned in the application form shall be duly supported by evidence (original or certified copies of e.g. diplomas, certification, etc.) Only qualifications issued by EU Member State authorities and qualifications recognised as equivalent by the relevant EU Member State authorities will be accepted. In instances where diplomas are obtained from a non-EU Member State, EFSA may request the candidate to provide a relevant document of comparability issued by a recognised authority.

[3] Any professional experience mentioned in the application form shall be duly supported by evidence (original or certified copies of e.g. contracts, payslips etc.). Professional experience shall be taken into account from the date on which the person fulfils the minimum qualifications for engagement. In order for your professional experience to be taken into consideration, it must be supported by relevant documents attesting an actual work relationship defined by the following elements: real, genuine work; on a paid basis; as employee (any type of contract), or provider of a service.  Any given period may be counted only once (in order to be calculated as eligible, years of studies or professional experience to be taken into account shall not overlap with other periods of studies or professional experience). Professional activities pursued part-time will be calculated pro-rata on the basis of the certified percentage of full-time hours worked. Remunerated PhDs acquired in a field relevant to the job description can be counted as professional experience up to 3 years. Paid traineeships are counted as working experience. Prior to contract signature, the successful candidate(s) will need to provide original versions of documents proving the candidate’s work experience.

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